However, a section of the country’s largest opposition party, backed by hardliners, is said to be agitating for direct confrontation with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government which warned over the weekend that it would deploy soldiers to crush any protests.
At a meeting in Bulawayo over the weeked, Chamisa was very clear and straight forward. Following the tragic January shootings he had to personally attend 17 funerals “for accidentally shot and killed civilians” and the narrative was that it was because the MDC was part of the demonstrations which narrative was false. Going forward the MDC has to make a conscious decision whether to sacrifice more lives or to dialogue. The process of dialogue is an eventuality whether they are demonstrations or not and hence the cautious approach that the MDC Alliance has adopted. The first rung is the seven-day prayer and fasting, which was attacked by the “stakeholders” as a waste of time and energy.
Chamisa indicated that he was prepared or collaterally he was arrested or imprisoned but he wanted a planned way forward for the people of Zimbabwe. More specifically there was a need to caucus, consult and have consensus on how best to proceed in light of the avaricious ZANU-PF regime. The planned prayer and fasting phase was part of the process. Thereafter, the people of Zimbabwe have to decide but lives are going to be lost in the process and this is a collective process because individual responsibility for the death and carnage is going to repose upon him as a leader of the opposition movement. He accepted that the situation has indeed reached another level and people would want an “immediate resolution of the issues” but this kind of resolution demands leadership and responsibility and the MDC Alliance leadership is ceased with the matter and it is getting the necessary, needed, urgent and relevant attention.
There was obvious agitation and impatience with the ZANU-PF regime and government but one could not escape the subliminal fear, caution and attention to the capricious and vicious nature of the ZANU-PF regime. The obvious and admitted lack of capacity by Chamisa of leadership in local authorities and parliament is a boon for the opposition. This he said himself.
In contrast, firebrand MDC deputy national chairperson Job Sikhala who is currently on bail over accusations of attempting to overthrow Mnangagwa and his administration before the next elections — has called for supporters to pour onto the streets to protest the worsening rot.
Apart from Sikhala, MDC youth leader Tererai Obey Sithole, has also called for massive demonstrations against the deteriorating economic situation.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said preparations were underway for a stayaway if President Emmerson Mnangagwa fails to urgently address challenges facing the economy. The labour body last week said it would be rolling out protests in two weeks.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told NewsDay yesterday that organising teams were on the ground, mobilising for the mass action.
MDC party spokesperson Daniel Molokele said his party has not issued any instruction yet to its members to participate in the stayaway, but said individuals who wish to do so would be free because it was their constitutional right.
Meanwhile, government has acquired new military vehicles which crossed the Forbes Border Post into the country last week on Wednesday afternoon, reportedly to deal with the protests.